In vivo recombination was used to clone deletions of the araBAD-araC genes of Escherichia coli onto a hybrid pBR322-ara plasmid. Genetic and physical analyses demonstrated that the desired deletions had been recombined onto the plasmid. In addition to permitting a detailed physical analysis of various ara deletions, this procedure has generated a series of plasmid cloning vehicles that can be used to clone, by in vivo recombination, any ara point mutation located within the region covered by the deletions. Hybrid plasmids containing the cloned point mutation can be distinguished from the original cloning vehicle by genetic complementation. The desired recombinant plasmid can be easily obtained because the frequency of recombination between the plasmid ara region and the chromosomal ara region is 0.025%--3%. A plasmid containing a deletion which removes the ara controlling site region and the araC gene was used to clone two types of araBAD promoter mutations and an araC mutation by in vivo recombination. Genetic and physical analysis of these plasmids established that the mutations in question had been recombined on to the ara deletion plasmid. The application of this procedure to the ara genes and to other genetic systems is discussed.